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Everyday Sexism, and other things that suck about being pregnant

“Pregnancy is a magical time!” everyone says. “Enjoy every minute!” everyone says. And, I mean, OK, it IS pretty magical, all things considered. But it also kind of sucks — for a variety of different reasons. Here are some of the ways it’s sucked this week in particular…

Everyday Sexism

Since I got pregnant I’ve noticed there’s a certain group of  people who seem to assume that I’m just going to give into the patriarchy now, and be a good little housewife or something. So, I’ve suddenly started getting a lot of questions about what I’m making for Terry’s dinner, plus a bunch of statements that make it clear that these people think the baby will be my sole responsibility/interest, and that Terry will have no parenting responsibilities at all, because he’s a MAN, SILLY!

This is honestly really odd to me, because Terry and I have always divided the chores etc pretty equally (He cooks, I clean: it works for us because I hate cooking and he hates cleaning, but some people just CANNOT GET OVER the fact that I don’t cook a nice meal for my man every evening…), and are planning to do the same with baby-related stuff.

We’re really lucky in that we both work from home, so we’ll both be here for the baby, and able to share things, but honestly, the comments implying that it’ll just be MY baby, and that I’ll be lucky if Terry “helps out” now and then are REALLY starting to grate on me. I think I need to get some kind of, “PLEASE DON’T PROVOKE THE PREGNANT LADY” sign to wear around my neck. Oh, and on that subject…

People who tell me that my anxiety will hurt the baby

Or, “anxious mommies make anxious babies!” or whatever. I’ve had this kind of comment a few times now, so I asked the midwife I saw at the hospital last week about it, and she said that not only is it categorically untrue, it’s also a pretty unkind thing for people to be saying to me, given that I haven’t exactly CHOSEN to be anxious, and that I’m doing my best to control it. So, knock it off, people, seriously.

Last week’s freak out…

… when I had a shower, then knelt on the bed for a few minutes afterwards, to chat to Terry. When I stood up again, I noticed a bunch of bright red blood spatters all over the bedsheets, so I instantly started shrieking at Terry to CALL AN AMBULANCE, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE BABY, only to discover that, actually, I’d just cut my knee while I was shaving my legs in the shower: whoops. Or when I was trying to shave my legs in the shower, anyway: it’s hard for me to even SEE my knees these days, so that’s probably how I managed to slice ‘em up good. On the subject of the bump getting in the way, meanwhile…

Having to get Terry to help me put my boots on…

… because The Bump is so big now that I just can’t bend down properly. Unfortunately the boots in question are elastic-sided ones, which are tricky to get on and off even when I’m NOT pregnant, so we ended up in this awkward kind of WWF-style stance, with Terry huddled at knee level, and me kind of leaning over his bent back, trying to get my foot into the boots. Then, when we got home, I had to basically lie on the floor while he dragged me along by my heels, trying to get the things off again. I guess I won’t be wearing THOSE boots again until the baby’s here…

Speaking of Terry:

Terry announcing to a room full of people that, “Amber’s belly button is about to run out!”

This expression actually comes courtesy of my mum, who, when she was pregnant with me, apparently worried that she was about to “run out” of belly-button, because it had reached that stage where it’s all stretched and weird looking and just about to POP. GOD. Well, mine has now reached that stage too: it hasn’t popped yet, but Terry is oddly fascinated by it, and apparently thought his entire family would be, too: THANKS, TERRY!

(Yes, I know I just told the entire internet, but that’s, like, TOTALLY DIFFERENT, isn’t it?)

What’s been good, bad and awkward in your life lately?

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COMMENTS
  • Jaynie

    REPLY

    “Anxious mums make anxious babies” honestly what are people hoping to achieve by telling you that? I mean, “thanks for giving me something extra to worry about!” seems like a totally appropriate response. I know a lot of people really don’t understand what anxiety disorders actually involve, but seriously…

    That you’ve noticed an uptick in people asking about your good little housewife status is really interesting to me. Obviously pregnancy brings out the latent sexism in people, but it’s fascinating that it generalizes so much. And by fascinating, I mean deeply upsetting. I think i would have a hard time not getting shouty at people!

    November 11, 2017
  • Fiona

    REPLY

    On the boot front, IKEA do a extra long shoe horn so you don’t have to do the boot contortions to get them on. I honestly don’t know how I managed before I got it!

    November 11, 2017
  • On the everyday sexism topic, I was saying to Andy yesterday that 90%+ of people I have spoke. To about the fact that we’ve chosen not to find out the sex of the baby have made some allusion to having to buy different stuff for different genders. Comments like “ah, well you can always buy the boy or girl stuff when it’s born”, or “I suppose you can decorate the nursery in neutral colours”. I didn’t expect these comments to be quite so prevalent – it’s a bloody baby!

    November 11, 2017
  • Myra

    REPLY

    I laughed at the visual image of Terry pulling you along by your heels.

    On every day sexism, I couldn’t believe my ears when people said how great Raymond was for letting me do a degree as a mature student. Because I’m not an adult and couldn’t make that decision for myself without his permission. Nor was I great for doing it!

    Blue is a cold colour, why would you want your baby in a blue room? If anything, paint it pink lol. It was a male colour until about a couple of hundred years ago anyway.

    November 11, 2017
  • The first time I got pregnant I had a miscarriage, the next time I had my son. I was intensely anxious throughout the whole period of conception and pregnancy, yet I still managed to conceive and have bear my son… anxiety is not a method of contraception: it does not stop you conceiving children, although a lot of people seem to think it does and my son is well within the band of what is considered ‘normal’ despite all the above… x

    November 11, 2017
  • Ah yes the sexism is everywhere! At 39weeks+ it’s all too real for me right now. The other day my grandmother was shocked that I hadn’t gone to the store to get dinner supplies for when the Mr got home. “Jaime, you’re home now and he has a tough job! You’re going to need to get on a schedule now” – um how about I am due any day, can barely stand for more than 20 minutes and have extreme anemia due to pregnancy? That’s just a walk in the park grandma…

    I was also shocked at how many older people were were aghast that Dan is going to be in the delivery room with me. “Don’t you want your mother instead? Seeing that could really traumatize a man” – um, people you do know how babies are generally made right? No one seems worried about women being traumatized from birthing a baby…

    November 11, 2017
  • I just told myself that Steve putting my tights and shoes on for me was great practice for when he had to dress the baby. 🙂

    I get all those comments about cooking for him, too. I’m a terrible cook; he’s a very good cook – guess who puts in the most effort in the kitchen? Then, once the baby’s here, fingers crossed nobody EVER sees Terry holding the baby whilst he (baby. Probably not Terry) cries – you WILL be told you “need to go and rescue him”. Gaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!

    November 11, 2017
  • Sara J

    REPLY

    1. I have generalized anxiety and our baby is the most relaxed baby ever. When I freak out she just looks at me like, “Mom, chill.” No anxious baby here.
    2. I don’t think I shaved my legs for the entirety of my third trimester. I used the excuse that I couldn’t reach them, but mostly I was just lazy.
    P.S. I’m sure you’re just as interesting in real life as you are on the internet ?

    November 11, 2017
  • Maria

    REPLY

    “What meal are you preparing for your husband tonight????” “Dunno, but probably the same I’d be making for me, because I’m his wife and not his servant, so we tend to, u know, eat the same meal, at the same table, together, like a couple? Also husband’s the one who cooks, so you should totally ask him btw”
    Like really, joking aside, I’ll never understand the people that ask things like “I wonder if she’s a good wife and treats her husband respectfully!” “Do you know that to keep a man you need to give him everything?” … Like, some people assume that just because you’re the woman in the relationship, you’re supposed to be like a mother/cook/cleaning-lady all in one and do basically everything while the man chills after a hard day at work… It still baffles me there’s people who reason like that when the women work too these days, but still…

    November 11, 2017
  • Myra

    REPLY

    I Forgot to say the white version of your pink rocking chair was in an amazing house on Grand Designs yesterday

    November 11, 2017
  • Trudy

    REPLY

    Good things that have happened to me this week is I got your Closet Essentials book in the mail! Eee! I sat down and read it cover to cover, and already have a ton of ideas for restyling clothes I already have, but would never have thought to wear together. I feel like I’ve got a whole new wardrobe! This is the book I’ve been looking for for years!

    November 12, 2017
  • Fiona

    REPLY

    Re: anxious babies – YES! Or the flip side, when people think that their chilled out babies are the result of their amazing parenting and not just sheer bloody luck. (Which you will have, cos you deserve it and I have decreed it.)
    Everyday sexism began to bother me more around the time my first was born too. She’s now 15 and my MIL still refers to things like ‘Fiona’s kitchen’ (err, WTF?) and assumes anything at all accomplished must have been done by my husband.
    Sorry for your car :-(. It’s gorgeous. You can have another one day.

    November 12, 2017
  • Anita

    REPLY

    Actually, I often walk to the bathroom and sit down to pee at night with my eyes nearly shut, because I do not want to wake up too much and not be able to sleep again… Haha. ?

    November 13, 2017
  • That comment about anxiety hurting the baby is awful! My German doula said something along those lines to me too and it really bugged me. It was after she found out this is an IVF baby. She should have just said something reassuring like don’t worry everything will be fine. Not made me worry that my worry is bad for the baby! Argh!
    That was annoying that you spilt the food on your sofa! Is it a white sofa? How did you clean it ?

    November 13, 2017
  • Chiarina

    REPLY

    I totally feel for your panic when seeing the blood. I am not anxious, most of the time, but I would have lost it too… Glad it was nothing.

    November 13, 2017
  • Amber DeSadier

    REPLY

    Thomas and I split a lot of chores. He definitely cooks and I take over the majority of baby stuff til after dinner. He also wasn’t so good with infant and I knew that going into it so the bulk of baby care was on me for the first 6 months or so. He was super helpful in every other way though. Now that the baby has more personality developing and can communicate a bit (or rather we understand his form of communication more), Thomas is helpful with baby a lot more.

    People don’t understand my husband isn’t “babysitting” next weekend when I go off to North Carolina to go to the Renn Fest there. He is just taking care of the baby. We are partners and that means everything.

    November 13, 2017
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